Grilled chicken, whether the breast or the leg meat, has attractive grill marks and is a low-fat cooking method that produces a tasty charred exterior with moist meat inside. If you don’t have access to a grill or if the weather makes it too difficult to cook outdoors, use a grill pan to reproduce grilled chicken on a stove top. Grill pans are like skillets but with a ridged bottom to keep food off the bottom of the pan, draining away fat, and to produce the coveted grill marks on food.


Marinades and Seasonings

Regardless of the cut of chicken, marinating or seasoning it adds extra flavor. Store marinated chicken covered with plastic wrap or in a sealable plastic bag in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or, ideally, overnight. To mimic the flavor of “real” grilled chicken, marinate the chicken in your favorite barbecue sauce or make a spicy dry rub, blending cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, black pepper and steak spice. Seasoning chicken before pan-grilling means you do not need to add sauce to the chicken later to add flavor.

Searing and Pan-Grilling

To pan-grill chicken, heat the grill pan on high heat, coating it with a thin layer of oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken — presentation-side down — and let it sit on the raised grill for at least two to three minutes before flipping. If you marinated the chicken, wipe off excess marinade and pat the meat dry before pan-grilling to ensure grill marks. The initial high heat of the pan is necessary to brown and sear the meat, although once seared, you can lower the temperature to medium, cooking until the meat internally reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked entirely in the pan, a 1/2-pound piece of boneless chicken breast is fully cooked in approximately 12 minutes.

Grill Marks

To make hatched grill marks on chicken, place the chicken presentation-side down on the ridges so they form a set of diagonal lines. Let the chicken sit on the ridges for at least two to three minutes undisturbed. Once the first set of marks have been formed, lift the chicken with a set of tongs and rotate the piece 45 degrees to either side; place it presentation-side down on the grilling ridges. Cook for another two to three minutes undisturbed until a second set of diagonal lines has formed, creating a diamond “grill” pattern.

Finishing in the Oven

Because pan-grilling can be time consuming — you have to watch the chicken carefully — consider finishing the chicken in the oven. To do this, the grill pan needs to be oven-safe. The lower, gentler heat of the oven finishes cooking the chicken evenly, minimizing the edges of the chicken becoming charred or overcooked while the center is undone. When heating the grill pan, preheat the oven to 375 F and once the chicken is seared, transfer the pan and chicken to a center rack in the oven. Cook for eight minutes per pound for boneless chicken or 10 minutes per pound for bone-in chicken. Like with chicken cooked entirely in the grill pan, oven-finished chicken is fully cooked when the internal temperature reads 165 F.